Haridwar, June 13 : Devotees today celebrated 'Ganga Dussehra' by taking a holy dip in Ganga at Haridwar, Varanasi and other major towns along its course.
Thousands of devotees thronged the 'ghats' since early morning to bathe in the waters to wash away their sins.
"Taking a bath today holds importance for us. If you take a holy dip today, you receive salvation and go to heaven after death. Such an occasion comes only once in the entire year," said Bheek Singh Rajpurohit, a devotee.
Legend holds that the Ganges was gifted to mankind in answer to the great penance undertaken by King Bhagirath, after whom she is also called Bhagirathi.
Bhagirath, a descendant of the legendry Sagara dynasty, prayed for the Ganges to descend onto the parched earth and bring life.
"Today is Ganga's Dashmi. It was on this day that the Ganga came down on earth following penance by King Bhagarithi," said Shyamlal Mishra, a priest.
The festivities last for ten days marked by religious fairs and worship of River Ganga.
Ganga Dussehra falls on the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Jyeshta.